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Platinum Metals Rev., 1997, 41, (3), 114

Autocatalyst Manufacture in Malaysia

A Johnson Matthey Joint Venture to Control Vehicle Emissions in South-East Asia

  • Kala Shanmugam
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Following the establishment of a new joint venture, Johnson Matthey HICOM Sdn Bhd, the Johnson Matthey Catalytic Systems Division is poised to make a significant contribution to South-East Asian automotive markets. The new facility, Johnson Matthey’s seventh autocatalyst manufacturing plant, is located in Nilai, one of the fastest expanding industrial zones in Malaysia. From here Johnson Matthey HICOM will start to serve regional markets, such as Thailand and Indonesia, possibly as early as mid-1998. In the meantime the facility produces emission control catalysts for vehicles produced by PROTON, the Malaysian automobile conglomerate, for the export market. One factor that influenced the choice of Nilai was the securing of a deal to supply PROTON with catalyst units. These units comply with the requirements of EC Stage I/II standards.

Future production levels are expected to rise significantly by early 1998 when newly approved emission control legislation will be implemented in Malaysia, requiring catalytic converters to be fitted to all new models of petrol-fuelled vehicles. As PROTON holds 65 per cent of the domestic market share, with 180,000 vehicles sold in 1996, the opportunity for catalyst sales by the new joint venture is substantial. By 1998 it is expected that all other South-East Asian countries will face enforcement of emission controls, to EC Stage I standards, on petrolfuelled vehicles, and at the turn of the century, regulations requiring petrol-engined cars to meet EC Stage II standards are expected to be in place in Malaysia and most other South-East Asian countries. Catalysts are also likely to be compulsory on motorcycles and commercial vehicles, including diesel-fuelled vehicles.

Clearly this joint venture demonstrates the continuing commitment of Johnson Matthey to the improvement of air quality worldwide, and will move Malaysia to the forefront in the use of platinum metals catalysts to control emissions from hydrocarbon-fuelled vehicles.

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